Kitesurfing and most of other boardsports are not only sport activity. This is a way of life. Kind of like being a samurai 😉 This is a certain approach to our existence on this planet. I believe that it is very important to take care about our values. That’s why also when making your buying decisions you should consider ‘kitesurfing’s Hagakure’.
Chapter 1. Why we love to do water sports?
I spend my childhood living far from the sea. My parents didn’t do any water sports. The only choice of sports back those days was to play soccer or pushing the metal in the gym. I didn’t like both so chose to read the good books.
Than at the end of 90’s I was visiting my uncle and he took me to the lake where I tried windsurfing. I didn’t get hooked. But when we came back to his home I’ve put my hands on some windsurfing magazine and inside found a picture of Flash Austin flying high with the kite. This photo has change me forever.
Now from a perspective of a grown up man I see that the initial trigger for me was this that kitesurfing looked spectacular, extreme, innovative, punk and alternative. So my rebel soul told me – you have to do this!
The true is that at that point I didn’t understand what does it really mean to be a rebel. I think that it was more the way to show off I’m different and to attract others attention.
Chapter 2. What does really being kite rebel is about:
I think everyone will agree on this one. Kiting gives the feeling of being free. How you define it is up to you but the core is understandable for all of us. It let our mind let go. Finally we can leave crowded cities and every day affairs.
I believe that this feeling comes from reconnection with the nature. Being one with the elements purify our mind and soul.
- balanced and sustainable life
Looking at the mainstream way of living may be scaring. Mindless overconsumption, short term goals, money based success, rat race… leads to lack of values, hate, air and water pollution, dying species and mental disorder. But it all disappears at the beach where after a while you understand how less you need to have a happy and balanced life.
There’s no cars on the beach, nor television, nor haute couture dresses and the way to impress others is not with your wallet but the style of your tricks! Finally the less you have the easier it is to travel!
- environment awareness
Closed in skyscrapers managers or labor forces in the factory do not see how our civilization harm the environment. While travelling to different kite destinations one can see the enormous level of pollution. Beaches around the world are covered with garbage. Oceans and seas are heavily harvested as there would be no tomorrow.
I strongly believe that our kite society should be at the forefront of the change. Of course every serious change has to be started from ourselves. That’s why every day you should #RefuseThePlastic and work on increasing environment oriented consciousness of the people you meet at the beach.
Chaprer 3. OK, but what it has to do with buying kitesurfing equipment?
Increasing sales and big revenues are changing boardsports from once soul & roots to ruled by marketing budgets vampires. It is easy to get lost in plenty of brands, models, generations and shapes of gear that are in offer.
Hopefully for customers – in recent years offered by most brands products works very well and you shouldn’t make a big mistake despite the brand you chose.
But does the brand you want to choose is following important for you values?
Here is my list of factors that you might consider:
- big brands vs small brands
The market’s so big now that some brands became a global corporations hiring pro executives that often do not practice bordsports themselves!
Usually their marketing budget is bigger than R&D. And R&D teams are focusing on making features that won’t allow you to use their product with other brands standard solutions. Not so long time ago it wasn’t a problem to connect any bar to any other kite.
Same time there’s plenty of smaller brands run by surf people. Their staff is riding as much as they can and they pampers their products to make it better performing, easier to use, last longer. They will be doing this regardless of short term fashions and they live on the beach where the freedom is. Choose smaller but original one.
- ‘fast market’ vs ‘slow market’ approach
Designing a new kite and profound testing of each and every size does really take a lot of time. There’s no way to make it in one year. Bear this in mind when you see advertisements saying that this year equipment is so much better than the one from last year as in most cases it just the graphic that has been changed.
There are few brands that launch new generations when an important change took place in the equipment design. This approach is for sure giving much more time to prepare a kite that is a step forward in its quality and performance. But beside this it will keep the value of your product longer and impact the environment less.
- local distributors/shops vs special offers from unknown sources
It is natural that we are looking for a way to spare our money but remember that no one else as your local surf dudes will give you good after sales service, will take care about the spot, will support local riders and will push the sport to new levels.
Boardsports are about people! Go speak with them, know them better and if you feel you share same values than this is the way to make a choice.
- choosing ‘the best’ on the market vs the one that suits your needs
If you will ever see an add or meet someone who’s saying that his equipment is the best on the market – don’t waste your time – turn around and never come back! If there is anything on this planet that one can call ‘the best’ than it might be your mother. Period.
Every person and every rider are different. There’s no way to make something that suits all people. Go for a test ride. If you can’t test it than ask your friends, speak with other users or people that have big experience and are trustful. Than use the factors I describe above to make a choice that supports the sport.
- look for eco friendly
As for now there’s no much brands that have in offer kite products that are eco friendly but one can see that the consciousness is rising. Sustainable Surf is a charity from California that took a role of game changer here. Read about their activities and follow their social media channels.
Another interesting initiative that start to arise in our industry is One Percent for the Planet. The idea behind is to pass 1% of the profits to charities that take responsibility for our planet.
If you still have some doubts I’m providing gear consulting service. With 18 years of experience I’ll do my best to help you make the choice that will suit your needs and reassure good progress. Contact me if you need any assistance.
Chapter 4. The movie.